Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[biz-ee-wurk] /ˈbɪz iˌwɜrk/
work assigned for the sake of looking or keeping busy.
Origin of busywork
First recorded in 1840-50; busy + work Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for busy work
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The busy work of spring was over, that of the fall, or beef round-up, not yet come.

    Lin McLean Owen Wister
  • After crossing Waterloo Bridge, it was busy work for the eyes.

    Pencillings by the Way N. Parker Willis
  • Even as she was speaking she had notched and loosed another shaft, speaking as folk do who turn from busy work at loom or bench.

  • And so our world of Midgard was filled with busy work and play.

    Asgard Stories Mary H. Foster and Mabel H. Cummings
  • We were spoilt, you see, by those ten years of busy work, when we never left our ladders and earned as much as we pleased.

  • However, the busy work of the day soon banished these idle regrets.

    Prince Fortunatus William Black
  • There was feasting and jollity, as well as busy work, in the hunting camp.

    South from Hudson Bay E. C. [Ethel Claire] Brill
  • "busy work" with such materials would be worth while indeed,—yet easy to obtain as they are, they are almost never seen in use.

    Froebel's Gifts Kate Douglas Wiggin
Idioms and Phrases with busy work

busy work

Activity meant to take up time but not actually be productive. For example, We have to put in an eight-hour day, even if we do nothing but busy work. [ c. 1840 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for busywork

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for busy

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for busy work